"this word evokes negative associations"
say we. In English you may be can say "has negative conotations" but it
means a different thing. What is meant: when people hear this word they
may think of something bad (somehow related to this word), or may be just have a bad feeling.
"I told/rememebered that just by association" we say. Means: you told a story, and I told another story. And my story is not connected to your story:) It is just that there was a detail in your story that reminded me of another story.
"what do you associate X with?"
we ask. A VERY common question. In English it may be "what comes to
your mind when you hear X ?" But an answer to Russian question can be
just "something cold", an emotion. Or "the story from The Three
Musqueteers, when Athos locked himself in wine cellar and the..." and so
on:) "X" can also be simple, like 'green colour', or complex as a
story. The 'assocaiation' can come to your mind this second (and mean
nothing) or it can be something deep of which you are not avare of.
It is Very Inconvenient not to be able to express this in English:(((( Because I very often mean and want to say that I associate somethign with something:(